Health wasn’t always my priority.

For more years than not, I don’t even remember thinking about health. I always looked decent, and felt good. There was no need to look into it any further....or so I thought. 

After university I went through a depression. Although I was functional, I slowly withdrew from the world and people who loved me. I never reached out for help, I chose to keep it in and shut out everyone else. One evening, hitting a peak of desperation, I called my long distance boyfriend, at the time, demanding his comfort and begging him to come home. This was completely unrealistic for our situation, and he neither comforted me, nor was able to come to visit. I remember hanging up the phone feeling completely broken and crying myself to sleep on the couch. 

Unexpectedly, I woke up feeling calm and determined. The conversation was exactly what I needed to hear. It was a clear slap in the face telling me that no one else was going to live my life for me. If I wanted to have an amazing life, then I was going to have to get off the couch and get it. The only thing I thought I could do immediately, was join a gym. So I did. 

I never had any structure in my workouts. I haphazardly went between equipment, leaned towards more of the aerobics classes, and would try my hand at the treadmill now and then. I can’t say my body changed much during that time, but wow, did I notice a difference in my mood. I felt confident and happy for the first time in years. 

The gym became my medicine. 

I stepped into my first yoga class after a friend recommended it to me. I was intrigued. I didn’t really know what it was, I was more into the aerobic kickboxing to help me get out built up anger and emotion. The gentle flow, felt wonderful on my body and during the final resting pose the teacher read a quote from a book. The quote felt like it was aimed directly at me, encouraging me to let go of whatever I was holding onto. I was stunned, felt completely cared for, guided and the most relaxed I have ever been. I asked the teacher what book she read from (The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie) and floated out of there. I became an instant regular of her class, and bought the book, it was my very first self-help book. My life was forever changed, and I still didn’t understand exactly how or connect the why. 

A few years later, I was no longer depressed, and I also was no where near feeling clear and content about my life. I was enjoying myself, and there was an underlying dis-ease. I decided I needed to explore further what this world had to offer. I booked a one way ticket to a destination on the other side of the world. Solo travel time! 

I wan’t sure how long I would be gone...turned out to be just over 3 years before I would hit home soil again. This journey had many layers and highlights. It was intense, beautiful and allowed me to explore more than exotic countries, it created discoveries within myself I never thought possible and directly led me to the work I am sharing now. 

The idea to move towards a life of wellness began to take shape through my self discoveries, inspiring people I met, incredible experiences, and some formal training such as yoga in India and Buddhism and meditation in Nepal.  What made it all click together, was I continued to receive comments about how brave I was, how others couldn’t imagine being able to do what I was doing. In the moment, I couldn’t see why they were thinking that. I only saw how achievable what I was doing was. That is when I began to connect the idea of how important our mindset is. 

As I literally stood in a monastery in the foothills of the Himalayas, I knew I needed to help coach others live the life they desired....just after visiting a few more countries.

I managed to travel a while longer before the universe decided it was time for me to stop, immediately. While in Europe, I became very ill and needed to be hospitalized. The doctors had no idea what was causing the sickness, only that it was really bad. The moment I was able to travel, I discharged myself from the hospital, against their advice, and headed home to Canada for further medical treatment and the comfort of family I had left so many years before.

My homecoming, was not how I envisioned it. Instead of coming back as a strong, independent woman of the world, ready to share her wisdom, I arrived feeble, disappointed and miserable. I spent a month as an out patient of the hospital, a constant IV in my arm pumping me full of antibiotics. The drugs were working and the cause a complete mystery to the medical community. I eventually regained my health and with no available advice on how to keep myself that way, I realized that the medical community didn’t have the health answers I was looking for. 

I felt disconnected from myself, the world I was living in and for the first time I was extremely aware of how important my physical health was. I signed up for formal life coaching training and a full yoga teacher training program. I also embarked on my first cleanse and began to learn about the importance of nutrition. I found part time work in a chiropractic office, and the owners were a wealth of wellness knowledge. Slowly I began to see why I needed this humbling experience and wellness became my priority.

Through formal training, guidance from my mentors and much exploration with food, movement and mindset practices, I became the strongest, healthiest and happiest I had ever been. I realized it was easy to be the ‘monk on the mountain’ when everything was going your way. Being the monk in the village was a whole new challenge. 

Since then, I have continued to develop my personal wellness habits which have completely transformed my body, mind and spirit, optimizing my wellness in ways I never thought possible. I have taken many hours of formal training to continue my education in the field of wellness, worked with clients to help with their own personal transformations and continue to develop my skills to share what I have learned. 

I am incredibly grateful for my experiences, both challenging and uplifting. I am even more grateful for the ability to see them as growing experiences, to have the awareness to take what I have learned and continue to develop a life I love every moment of. 

I hope to be able to inspire the same within you. 

Thank you for taking the time to read a part of my journey.

Jen Wende, Toronto Wellness Coach
 

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